Bushmaster gas key problems


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bomberbill357
March 8, 2012, 11:17 AM
I've got an older Bushmaster A-15e2. I put it through my usual torture test, 1,000 rds w/o cleaning. I always made sure it was liberally lubed. After approx 900 rds it began to mis -feed, fail to eject, double feed, you name it. When I finally field stripped it I discovered the gas key was so loose it almost came off in my hand. I re-torqued it on and put a little loctite on it and haven't had a problem since....
Until I took a carbine class last year. My buddy was using his brand new bushmaster carbine with approx 100 rds thru it when it started to hiccup. Of course, since I'm old and somewhat feeble, I completely forgot about my Bushmaster issue. It wasn't till his carbine had been looked over by every "expert" there (and had a few parts changed out) that I remembered.
Sure enough the gas key was indeed loose. Once we tightened it down, everything was fine...
Then yesterday another friend showed up with a brand new bushmaster on our weekly Wednesday shoot around. Knowing him, he doesn't put too many rounds through his guns and sure enough his weapon malfunctioned.
I didn't realized he had a problem till I reviewed the video and there he was fighting through jam after jam.

So what's the deal? The above mentioned 3 rifles span about 20 years. So obviously they still aren't staking the gas keys on.
For those of you who own this rifles periodically check the gas key. It can say you a lot of aggravation and maybe some money.

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Tommygunn
March 8, 2012, 11:51 AM
Bushmaster does not (usually) properly stake the gas key. There are tools available for properly doing this, or a gunsmith ought to be able to do it.
By this I mean that there will be stake marks, but they won't be deep enough; the tool helps rectify this problem. A number of manufacturers have this problem.

This thread may provoke people to chime in about "the chart" and mil spec. and whatnot. Let me say the last time I read about a loose gas key causing problems it was on a blog written by a soldier in Iraq, and -- you guessed it -- his gun was a Colt, supposedly the creme of the creme, the one idol by which all others are judged (inferior).
Even the renowned Colt had a LOOSE GAS KEY!

My advise is to keep all your guns well maintained. There's nothing really wrong with Bushmaster that can't be fairly easily fixed -- even though after spending $$$$ on a rifle you really ought not have to fix it.
Bravo Company Manufacturing, Noveske, and , yes, Colt, are all said to be the better of the AR 15s out on the market.

Z-Michigan
March 8, 2012, 12:00 PM
Well covered by Tommygunn.

Staking is fairly easy to fix with an automatic center punch if you are so inclined. Loctite can fail from heat, although it's better than not doing anything.

Gordon
March 8, 2012, 04:17 PM
Although there s a newer type 3 MOACKS tool that is even cheaper, Ned makes the bomb in AR tools if you have the need
http://www.m-guns.com/tools.php

Captains1911
March 8, 2012, 04:37 PM
But I thought Bushmaster was supposed to be just as good as Colt, BCM, LMT...

Captains1911
March 8, 2012, 04:38 PM
Even the renowned Colt had a LOOSE GAS KEY!
I'm sure that Colt probably had many many more rounds through it than the aforementioned BMs, just sayin...

JustinJ
March 8, 2012, 05:36 PM
I have a Bushy that i bought about 4 or 5 years ago. Its been perfectly reliable and durable after several thousand rounds. Its been great albeit a bit over gassed. However, there is no question that my Colt is a better gun. The only downside with the Colt was in doing my upgrades as they seem to like to over torque the hell out of every nut on the thing.

briansmithwins
March 8, 2012, 07:30 PM
My AR kept working after the gas key bolt head broke off. I didn't know it was gone until I stripped the rifle at home for cleaning.

BSW

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/IMG_1373.jpg

Tommygunn
March 8, 2012, 08:26 PM
Even the renowned Colt had a LOOSE GAS KEY!

I'm sure that Colt probably had many many more rounds through it than the aforementioned BMs, just sayin...

You're likely right. My point was even Colts can have problems. I wasn't trying to suggest that Colts weren't good guns, just that ANY gun, no matter how fine a weapon, can develop a breakage or other problem that needs fixing.

General Patton said he believed the M-1 Garand was the best war implement around, and I think he was correct when you compare it to what America's enemies were using. The Germans had the G43 which was good but not as good as the Garand.
The Garand was a terrific rifle in its day ..... yet I've read letters from WW2 vets who complained how their Garand wouldn't work right.
A bad apple in every bunch........

FlyinBryan
March 8, 2012, 09:59 PM
ive always heard that bushmaster does not stake them properly.



http://i680.photobucket.com/albums/vv162/flyinbryan_photos/Picture039.jpg
http://i680.photobucket.com/albums/vv162/flyinbryan_photos/Picture040.jpg

madcratebuilder
March 9, 2012, 09:18 AM
Young's manufacturing makes one of the best BCG's in the industry. It is not staked and the life time warranty is void if you do stake it. A friend has over 20K rounds on his Young's unstaked BCG in a NFA AR.

Quality key screws at the proper torque have never came loose on me. You should never tighten a loose key screw, replace it with a new quality screw and torque to spec.

bomberbill357
March 9, 2012, 10:12 AM
I think the point I was trying to make is that I paid good money and expected better than I got. Admittedly I've always had a love/ hate relationship with that bushmaster, it was my first post ban ar after I had to give up my Colts (Specifically prohibited by law in the PRNJ) and although it was accurate enough, the quality I expected just wasn't there. It sits languishing in the back of the safe, never to be trusted again.
I've since taken to building my own using the components I want. Much more satisfying.
I do tip my hat to the old Bushmaster Company for being one of the first to sell an acceptable AR in the PRNJ.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 9, 2012, 11:16 AM
Young's manufacturing makes one of the best BCG's in the industry. It is not staked and the life time warranty is void if you do stake it.

Young doesn't stake because they use Permatex Thread Locker instead of staking - which considering their main product is hard-chromed bolt carrier groups, makes a lot of sense. And as they point out on their website, the problem is not with staked gas keys; but rather improperly staked gas keys in which people go to extremes and actually stake the gas key so aggressively it stretches the threads on the screw (or alternatively people don't use the correct fasteners and torque to the proper amount (56 inch-pounds) which leads to a screw that is either more fragile, under-torqued, or over-torqued; but is now staked in place.

Tommygunn
March 9, 2012, 12:24 PM
OK, just what is Young's website?:)

Z-Michigan
March 9, 2012, 01:25 PM
http://www.youngmanufacturing.net/stakekeys.php

However for some reason Young Mfg doesn't seem to have much following in "hard use" circles. It does seem to get much of the CMP / high-power crowd.

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